The Auto-Destructive Community: The Torsion of the Common in Local Sites of Antagonism

Vishmidt, Marina. 2006. The Auto-Destructive Community: The Torsion of the Common in Local Sites of Antagonism. Ephemera Journal, 6(4), pp. 454-465. ISSN 2052-1499 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

The text considers some issues arising through an experience of local activism contesting gentrification, and relates this to some formulations in Jean-Luc Nancy, Giorgio Agamben and Karl Marx on the politics and ontology of ‘community’ as an articulation of common being, or the impossibility thereof. There may be a correlation between Marx’s precept of the proletariat as the class that exists both to annihilate itself and class society as such in the social relations engendered by communism, and Nancy and Agamben’s variously ‘political’ and ‘post-political’ iterations of ‘community’ as a horizon of being-in-common that is sundered from the contingencies that create communal identity (nation, religion, ethnicity) and that proposes an unfounded community based on contingency and a common experience of dispossession and fragmentation in social life, the ‘such’-ness of singularities not individuals. These axes collide and diverge incessantly, and the text embarks on an initial encounter with their implications for a ‘potential politics’ that is neither tied nor divorced from history and the created facticity of social life in capital, and also declines to naturalise a structurally-derived political agency, in an analysis which also departs from some of the more aporetic moments of Paolo Virno’s attempt to theorise multitude or immaterial labour as a site of negative as well as revolutionary potential.

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Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Centre for Cultural Studies (1998-2017)
Media, Communications and Cultural Studies


28 October 2006Published
2 August 2006Accepted

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Date Deposited:

13 Jan 2017 11:34

Last Modified:

28 Jul 2021 15:40

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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